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Advantages of subterranean drip irrigation in tomato water use efficiency and fruit quality.

In this project the effect of field subterranean irrigation in comparison with surface drip irrigation will be investigated in tomato heinz 1015 variety. Water-management practices aim at mitigating negative effects of climatic change on water use efficiency, tomato production and quality parameters

Tomato fruits are recommended as part of a healthy diet because they are rich sources of micronutrients, fiber and antioxidant (lycopene, anthocyanins, total phenolics) metabolites. A better understanding of fruit biology, and production practices and management is hence required to facilitate the improvement of both nutritional and processing characteristics. Processed fruits and vegetables have been long considered as having lower nutritional value than their fresh commodities. However it has been shown that thermal processing elevated total antioxidant activity and bio-accessible lycopene content in tomatoes and produced no significant changes in the total phenolics and flavonoids content, although a loss of vitamin C. These findings indicate that thermal processing enhanced the nutritional value of tomatoes and are against the notion that processed fruits have lower nutritional value than fresh produce. Irrigation, speeds ripening, increases Brix and anti-oxidants, increases vegetative growth and contributes to the protection of fruits mainly under expected climate change increasing temperature. Climate changes, with marked effects on water deficit, high temperature and high evapotranspiration rates due to increased temperatures and extended drought periods, will likely result in consequences on tomato development, quality and yield. Drip irrigation has become the standard practice for tomato production with a major advantage in its water use efficiency. Drip tubing may be subterranean, buried up to about 25 – 30 cm deep, maintaining a water condition most favourable to plant growth and greatly avoiding excessive water loss by evaporation. Once the root system is established, soil moisture must be maintained to at least 100 cm depth to compensate the evapotranspiration (ETc), - water loss by evaporation from the soil and transpiration from the plant. As ETc is affected by the stage of crop growth, temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind velocity and plant spacing, irrigation frequency will depend on daily ETc. The plant CW is a complex macromolecular structure that surrounds and protects the cell. Remodelling of the fruit CW provides the flexibility for cell expansion during fruit growth and for final texture attributes. The primary CW of dicotyledonous is composed of cellulose, matrix glycans (hemicelluloses) and pectic polysaccharides. Pectins, embedded within the cellulose/hemicellulose network, form hydrophilic gels that impose mechanical features and hydration status to the CW. The CW of tomato fruit has up to 35% pectins (uronic acid). The decrease in the amount of CW material and the degree of pectin esterification, are related with the degree of ripening. These changes are accompanied by the accumulation of fruit sugar.
Acronym: 
Tomatosubirrigation
Project ID: 
9 164
Start date: 
01-10-2014
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
500 000.00€
Technological Area: 
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Market Area: 
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